Epic Games has been pushing the boundaries of digital human creation for years, and the latest addition to its arsenal, MetaHumans, is no exception. Launched in 2021, MetaHumans is a browser-based software tool that allows users to create highly realistic human faces using the company’s Unreal Engine. It also lets users add lifelike body movements and facial animations, creating Hollywood-level facial animation that was once only accessible to AAA game developers and Hollywood filmmakers.
During the State of Unreal 2023 event, Epic announced that it will soon release a new technology that will allow users to animate their MetaHumans using videos captured on an iPhone. The feature will enable anyone to create highly realistic animations without needing any prior animation experience, making it accessible to indie studios and hobbyists alike.
Epic showcased the capabilities of the new technology in a video, which also featured the main character of the upcoming video game Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. The character’s facial impressions are incredibly realistic, making it difficult to distinguish between the character and a real person.
To animate a MetaHuman using an iPhone, users will need to capture a video of themselves performing the desired facial expressions and body movements. The video will then be processed using Epic’s MetaHuman Animator, which will transfer the details and nuances of the performance onto the MetaHuman. The process promises to be fast and straightforward, even for those with no prior animation experience.
During the State of Unreal 2023 event, Raffaele Fragapane provided a tour of the component parts of MetaHuman and showed what lies beyond MetaHuman Creator with technical notes and best practices for MetaHuman Assets, the DNACalib library, and the MetaHuman for Unreal plugin. Matt Stoneham demonstrated how the technology can be used to create a next-generation game character with deformations driven by full muscle, flesh, and cloth simulation.
MetaHuman is currently available for early access, and users can request a ticket on the official website to gain early access before the official release. The framework has been years in the making, with companies like 3Lateral and Cubic Motion pushing the limits of digital human creation. Now, as part of Epic Games, they have been able to push the technology even further and make it accessible to everyone.
The MetaHumans technology promises to revolutionize the world of digital human creation, making it accessible to anyone, regardless of animation experience. With the ability to capture animations using an iPhone, the technology will bring Hollywood-level animation to the masses, opening up a world of possibilities for game developers, filmmakers, and animators alike.